Global resources of various kinds are becoming scarce even as the demand for them is increasing rapidly as a result of population growth and significant increases in income. Growing awareness on implementing measures for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and preventing pollution from a range of human activities is leading to efforts towards development and growth which is green and resource efficient. To ensure adequate attention to this issue, the 2013 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit will focus on the theme 'The Global Challenge of Resource Efficient Growth and Development'. It is expected that the articulation of issues related with this subject will set in motion a trend globally for resource-efficient and low carbon development.
I believe it is important for us to have an informed discussion and debate on various issues pertaining to the understanding of sustainable development, and what it represents, and then coming up with strategies by which we are able to achieve a pattern which could be called sustainable. For that you need to get the best minds and leadership from all over the world, to shed light on these issues. I have no hesitation in saying that DSDS is truly a multi-stakeholder based exercise and a powerful platform engaging eminent luminaries from across the globe dealing with various aspects of sustainable development; representing business and industry, research and academia and civil society at large.
As far as sustainable development and growth in the Indian context is concerned, I get the sense that we will have to articulate our stand a little more clearly because one gets confusing signals. If we look at our domestic situation, we cannot possibly continue consuming natural resources impacting our eco-systems in the manner that we are doing, because with the growing population , if everybody aspires for a lifestyle and standards of living that the richest sections of the society have become accustomed to, we would obviously be imposing a very huge burden on our own natural resources. To my mind, it seems that India has to articulate its position based on self interest which lies in moving to a greener path of economic development and that our policies should clearly make a break from the past because business as usual will create some very serious difficulties in the future.
My message to all the participants who are coming for DSDS 2013 is to come fully prepared, to be frank, open and fearless in their expression of opinions and to also go back with very clear thoughts on how the messages that we get out of DSDS 2013 can be translated into action. We get 1,000 plus people and they are the ones who can influence action and decisions wherever they might be. This way they would be able to spread the message of DSDS 2013 and convert it into action which will provide an example for the rest of the world on how we might be able to align our policies to attain resource-efficient low carbon growth.
The writer is director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).